Choose music with forethought, not as an after thought: Abe Udy on Production

Music is quite often the last thing applied to a commercial, but I wonder if it should be the first.

The track selected for an ad is often the final link in the process after casting, recording and editing the voice, but it’s the music that really sets the tone and creates the foundation for an ad to ‘connect’.


Robin Hicks of Mumbrella writes why agencies should think of music first, not last. He lists some fantastic examples of TVCs that were made great by a killer music track.

And it’s the same in radio land.

Too often, particularly in a busy production environment, a producer will pick out a library track at the start of the day from her ‘generic medium-sell’ category and slap it behind a voiceover. Next ad, same process. And let’s be honest; I’m sure more then once she’s used the same track for different ads multiple times if they’re airing in different markets. Copy and drag. (Thank goodness for networking!)

I’d like to put it to you that a big part of a radio producers’ job is to pick the perfect music track for a commercial. A track that sets the tone and emotion, and ‘sounds’ like’ the product. I’m not suggesting we as producers spend hours vacillating over a piece of music and listen to 280 tracks before finding the perfect one, but I am suggesting that a little bit of creativity and thought could make a huge difference between just an OK ad and one that really ‘pops’.

For example: the script for this jewellers ad called for a female voice and ‘nice’ music. Harry, the producer, went one better – he found a piece of production library music with vocals at the start, edited the voice to fit, and this is the result.

Powerful. The ad stuck out on air – and sounded different to all the others around it.

Instead of it being the last, perhaps selecting the music track should be the first thing we do.

Food for thought.

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